Ahmed Hassan has earned a record 179th international cap on Wednesday but he said he is still traumatized by the Port Said disaster which left 74 fans killed on the first of February.
The Egypt skipper has made history after coming on as a second-half substitute in the team’s 1-0 friendly victory over minnows Niger in Qatar.
He overtook former Saudi Arabia goalkeeper Mohamed Al-Deayea, who played 178 international games, as the world’s most capped player.
“Of course I’m happy with that achievement, but my happiness is not complete. I’m still saddened over the death of Ahly fans in the Port Said disaster,” the evergreen midfielder, who departed Ahly last summer to join arch-rivals Zamalek, said on his official website after the game.
“I’ve waited for that achievement for so long, but I hoped to get it in better circumstances.”
Hassan took part in Egypt’s 5-0 friendly drubbing of Kenya on Monday but it was not clear whether the game was recognized by world governing body FIFA as a senior international fixture.
“(The milestone) It is confirmed today anyway. If the Kenya match was recognized by FIFA, then tonight would be my 180th appearance,” he added.
Egypt coach Bob Bradley heaped praise on the 36-year-old, who has been one of Egypt’s most consistent performers since making his debut in 1995.
“He has been such an important player for the Egyptian national team, it’s been very important that he has the opportunity to play in both matches,” the American boss told the post-match news conference.
“The record is something every Egyptian is proud of. He earned it after a great career.
“Ahmed Hassan has been a winner in his career, a leader, he leads by example by playing with energy and commitment and this is important for other players to look at and see that this is important to play at the highest level.”
Hassan seemed as enthusiastic as ever after replacing winger Ahmed Elmohamady with 14 minutes remaining before the end of the Niger friendly.
The former Besiktas and Anderlecht man, who has been in inspired form with Zamalek before the Egyptian Premier League stoppage, insisted he has no intention of hanging up his international boots.
“My career with Egypt is not over yet. Some people said I carry on playing with the national team to earn a personal achievement, this is completely untrue,” he added.
“I will continue to serve the national team as long as I’m able to perform at the highest level.”
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